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Un long voyage, de Claire Duvivier
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Un long voyage, by Claire Duvivier

In Un long voyage (2020), Claire Duvivier invents the realm of an Empire that declines and collapses, before the birth of a new world. Through the story of her hero, she crafts a truly singular début novel brimming with twists and turns and a great deal of thought.

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From publishing to writing

Claire Duvivier was born in 1981 and studied Humanities before obtaining a postgraduate degree in Publishing at the University of Paris IV. After her thesis on “Science fiction publishing in France in the second half of the 20th century” in 2005, she became a publishing assistant. She met Estelle Durand at the Sorbonne when they were both 23. In 2009, they decided to co-found the publishing house Asphalte, with a commitment to selecting authors who choose not to fit into any one genre. Spurred on by her partner, Guillaume Chamanadjian, she returned to writing in 2018, publishing her first novel, Un long voyage, two years later.

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The story of a recreated society

Un long voyage tells the story of Liesse, a boy from a family of fishermen who leaves his birthplace, an archipelago in the middle of the ocean, after the death of his father. He soon begins working for the mysterious ambassador Malvine Zélina de Félarasie, where he witnesses an Empire collapse, a new society rising from its ashes. The tale of a young boy growing up, the novel weaves an initiation story with a fantastical ambiance framed in the gentle language of a philosophical tale. Avoiding the well-trodden path of a world of magic and heroism, Duvivier evokes the special relationship forged between these two characters and the complexity of recreating a world.

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A truly unique debut novel

Un long voyage is a novel about learning, adventure and love that meanders between politics, science fiction and societal observation. A début that defies classification, it borrows from multiple genres in order to better reflect the discovery of the world, its rules and limits. Driven by creative ambition and freedom, Duvivier’s work cannot be reduced to a single idea or style; instead, it offers a broader reflection on difference and tolerance. In this quest for empathy, the author allows generations and years to overlap in her exploration of the values of an ever-changing planet and the future of humanity.

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Unanimous praise

Having garnered praise from critics, booksellers and the public alike, Duvivier’s first novel also won over Isabelle Motrot’s jury, which awarded it the Hors Concours 2020 prize. Given to the author of a French-language text from an independent publisher, this was the fifth consecutive year that the prize went to a female writer. The book was also lauded by the Elbakin.net prize, which has been awarded to the best fantasy novel for the past ten years. Duvivier is now working on her second project, a trilogy entitled Capitale du Nord, the second instalment of which, Capitale du Sud will be written by Guillaume Chamanadjian.

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The Institut français and the work

Un long voyage is available on Culturethèque.